Four people died on the US Capitol grounds while 52 people have been arrested after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Hill in an unprecedented effort to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory on Wednesday.
British Prime, Minister Boris Johnson, was among numerous world leaders to weigh-in on the events of the past few hours in Washington, as he condemned the “disgraceful scenes” on Capitol Hill.
Hours after an extraordinary rally by Trump challenging his defeat, flag-waving protesters broke down barricades outside the Capitol and swarmed inside, with the special session going into an emergency recess as protesters entered the chambers.
The desperate last-minute bid by Trump to overturn his election loss sparked chaos and accusations of a “coup” attempt, with several countries calling on Trump’s supporters to show calm and restraint.
Johnson said on Twitter:
Disgraceful scenes in US Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
Similarly, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, was “saddened” by the breach of the US Capitol building, according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
Dujarric said in a statement:
In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law.
The president of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, meanwhile, said he was “deeply concerned” by the violence and the interruption of the democratic process in the US, where the UN headquarters is located.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, said the events in Washington were a source of regret and that New Zealand looked forward to the peaceful transition of power.
She wrote on Twitter:
Violence has no place in thwarting democracy.
We look forward to the peaceful transition of the political administration, which is the hallmark of democracy.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned what he described as “very distressing scenes” in the US Congress, and said Australia looked forward to the peaceful transfer of power to the newly-elected administration.